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The present study proposes to contribute in clarifying a subject of great actuality and social importance: why
does the contemporary society need such mediation and mediators and what are the psycho-social premises of
making the process of mediaton more efficient.
In the first part, this study keeps the track of identifying the connections and the distinctions between
communication-negotiation and mediation. The intercession carries forward with the analysis of the
communicational and negotiative abilities of the mediator premises of efficient mediation. The final part
consists in an argument towards the imperative need of mediation felt by the contemporary society at all its
Keywords: communication, negotiation, mediation

1. Introduction
I communicate, so I exist. We exist as long as we communicate We are constantly facing
various problems and in order to solve them we must communicate.
Social life and its existence depend upon human interactions, which is negotiated through
People live amidst multiple communication forms that cover more than 11 hours of the total
24 hours that make up a day. We could state as Lucien Sfez points out that everything
communicates in nowadays society, which is also known as the communication society.
Nowadays we cant imagine the democratic society withought interactions, communications,
negotiations and recently mediations.
2. Communication-negotiation-mediation
In Social organization, Charles Cooley defines communication as the mechanism through
which human relations exist and are developed and which includes all the symbols of spirit and the
necessary means to transmit them into the space and to preserve them in time. It is a process that
includes facial expression, attitudes, gestures, the tone of voice, words, writing, printing a.s.o.
Etimologically, the term communication comes from the Latin communis, which in the
XIVth century used to mean to put together, to share (Ioan Dragan). Later, in the XVIth century, as
the post office services and the roads became more numerous, the term gained a new connotation, i.e.
to transmit.
During the XXth century, the term communication gains a new connotation, i.e. to
broadcast (to transmit through the radio, TV, cinema etc.). J.J. van Cuilenburg, O. Scholten and
G.W. Noomen mention three overlapping meanings of the term: notification, information, verbal
contact within a group or collectivity and presentation or occasion that favours exchange of ideas
or spiritual relations.1

Associated Professor, Ph.D., Faculty of Administrative Social Sciences, Nicolae Titulescu University,
Bucharest, (e-mail: doina nedelcu@yahoo.com).
J.J. van Cuilenburg, O. Scholten and G.W. Noomen, Stiinta comunicarii, Bucuresti, Humanitas, 1998, p.25;

Like communication, negotiation is ever-present in human life and in society. It is a
universal activity performed in international businesses, commercial transactions, diplomacy, in
internal and international legislation, in the attempt to build social peace within a country/between
countries, and it has an interpersonal, inter-group and inter-institutional content.2
Negotiation is closely linked to communication, negotiation without communication cannot
exist. That is why specialists in negotiation are also specialists in communication. Goodall Jr.
considers that negotitation is actually a communication style recommended for mitigating the
negative effects of a conflict.3
Negotiation must be understood as a process in which two or more parties, which have
common and conflicting objectives, debate the possibilities of coming to a potential agreement.4
In other words, negotiation as Douglas Kennedy remarked is the process through which
we succeed in obtaining what we want from those who want something from us.
Negotiation is the process by which the conflicting parties try to reach a consensus that is
advantageous for all the parties involved in this process, discussing about each partys pretention and
respecting these pretentions as much as possible; this process should not be finalized by deciding
who the winner or loser is.
In conclusion, negotitation is a nonconfrontational process by which two or more parties,
having contrary but complementary interests and positions, attempt to reach an advantageous
agreement, whose terms are known from the very beginning.5
M. Hiltrop and S. Udall identify three categories of objectives which negotiation must
a major objective the best result ever recorded;
a secondary objective the least efficient, but acceptable as a result;
a target-objective which is expected to be accomplished in an effective way6.
When the involved parties cannot jointly negotiate in an efficient way, they can address a
mediator to facilitate the negotiation process. Mediation is closely linked to the negotiation and
communication processes.
Mediation is often defined as interference in the negotiation standards and between the
conflicting parties, as well as the acceptance of a third party which has limited powers and cannot
adopt any decision authoritatively, but which is meant to assist the involved parties so as to find a
mutually advantageous solution in the disputed issues.7
The two parties negotiate in the presence of the negotiatior and come to a final agreement. In
other words, mediation is an intermediary position, a type of assisted negotiation that is made by a
neutral party, known as the mediator.
Mediation is a form of long-term social education that aims to develop communication and
conflict mediation skills so that people would directly come to have a good relationship with each
other and to solve their problems alone, without having to go to court.8
Mediation is a process of creation and a social life management process, which allows
people either to reconnect to social life or to prevent and solve conflicts thanks to an impartial,
authoritativeless third partys interposal that guarantees communication between partners.9

M. C. Solarte, Course on negociation; Theory, Tehniqes and Conflict Management, Spring 2002; http//hot.ee/
introduccion and_conflict management htm.
H. L. Goodall, Jr., Small Group Communication in Organizations, Second Edition, Dubuque, IA.: William C.
Brown Company, 1990.
Hellriegel, Slocum, Woodman, 1992, p. 478.
E. Botez, Negocierea afacerilor, Editura Universitatii din Oradea, 2000, pag. 9.
M. Hiltrop, S. Udall, Arta negocierii, Editura Teora, 2000.
Christopher Moore, Procesul de mediere: Strategii practice pentru rezol-varea conflictelor, 2nd ed., (San
Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1996), pag. 15.
Bernard Lamizet, prof. dr. la Institutul de Studii Politice din Lyon.


Challenges of the Knowledge Society. Mediation

Kenneth A. Sprang appreciates that mediation offers many important advantages for the
parties involved. A more trustful atmosphere, more confidentiality, less emotional traumas, less
transactional costs, a more flexible calendar, more application domains, more creative ways of attack,
more opportunities for responsibility and recognition, concentration upon the parties interests all
are a few of the advantages offered by mediation.
Mediation in Solomon Marcus view is a paradigm and it represents, as many other
paradigms do, - a convergence point for several disciplines which results in a richer and more
diverse understanding of human behaviour.10
For civil society, mediation is an instrument that leads to the creation of social links and it
imposes fundamental values such as: autonomy, responsibility, the ability to adapt to new situations,
solidarity and agreement. Today we can notice that, in the Western world, mediation has become
more and more successful and it is preferred to other ways of settling conflicts. In my opinion, the
appearance of mediation, as well as its popularity is linked to the change of mentality regarding
social justice (a new understanding of human rights as a form of world justice), the social actor
(accepting the role of subject in social and political life), the notion of guilt and conflict (adding value
to the psychological and sociological perspective) etc. These modifications lead to preferring/chosing
to develop and use alternative methods (ADR) to going to court, i.e. mediation, negotation, legal
action. The limits and shortcomings of legal action - that is meant to settle conflicts - are more and
more mentioned. Such an action is expensive, adversarial and incapable of wholly solving complex
3. Comprehension and non-violence basic principles in the science of communication
and negotiation
After graduating school many of us have discovered that there are different ways of learning
and listening. Research workers have identified 4 styles of learning.
- the Auditory Learner: the learner is concerned about and interested in the moods/feelings of
the other person. Auditory learners try to find common interests with the others and react to the
others emotions/moods. Listening is common for couples, families and friends.
- the Active Listening style: the listener requires accuracy, correct presentations, no errors
and, if possible, an organized presentation. A boss, for example, could ask the representative of a
department to make a report about the general situation of the company. He would expect the report
to be concentrated and straightforward.
- The Content Style: the listener prefers the information to be complex and provoking. Since
this information is, in general, abstract, people might listen to it without being emotionally affected
and then assess the information without making value judgements. A physician might, e.g., ask for
information from his colleagues as to how a certain patient should be treated. Thanks to his/her
training and his/her experience he/she will not find it difficult to understand a complex medical
- The Time Style: the listener who adopts this style prefers fast and concise interraction with
others and he often gives his interlocutor the possibility to know the amount of time the latter has for
finishing his argument. Reporters, when working for a TV broadcast programme, must collect
information quickly and effectively because they have tight deadlines and, in fact, this is the reason
why they belong to the time style category.
The best listeners are able to adapt their listening style to the given circumstances. If they
have not learned how to do that, they will encounter problems when interracting with the others. E.g.,
when a person complains of a work colleague, he/she probably prefers the auditory learner.
However, his/her superior has little time at disposal and, consequently, he/she will want this person

Monique Sassier, 2001, Construire la mdiation familiale, ed. Dunod, Paris, 2001, pag. 10.
Solomon Marcus, Paradigme universale, Ed. Paralela 45, Pite ti, 2005.


to quickly state the existing problem and then to leave the office a reaction that will not satisfy the
employee, anyway.
When working with people, it is important to take into account their styles as listeners. E.g.,
if you want some critical decisive reactions as to a document that you have already written, a listener
that identifies himself/herself in the style contained by the text will be more useful than the listener
that adapts to the listeners style because the latter will not want to hurt your feelings by pointing out
the identified mistakes.
Some research works indicate that culture leaves its mark upon the listening style of a person.
A study that has compared American, German and Israeli listeners has revealed that Israeli people
concentrate more on the accuracy of the sent messages; Germans are the most active listeners, they
often ask questions alongside the listening process. 11
The ideal communication situation implies observing the non-evaluation, non-interpretation
and non-systematic questioning principles.
The first basic condition for avoiding a communication blockage is actively listening to the
interlocutor. The active listening attitude is defined according to the above mentioned principles to
which one can add the comprehension and rephrasing principle.
The comprehension attitude consists in manifesting interest for what the other says and
listening to him in order to try to understand him, not in order to judge or evaluate this person. This
attitude is manifested as a request for rephrasing the interlocutors viewpoints and feelings.
Comprehension is the only attitude that favours the interlocutor, which creates a relational climate
that is ideal for his/her expressing properly in the absence of any imposed direction or form of
manipulation. It is not simple to understand the other persons words. We often take understanding
for interpreting. However, understanding does not mean interpreting, but deciphering, decoding the
others words, trying to identify the reasons that guide him. Let us learn how to listen, then! God has
given us two ears and a mouth to listen twice and speak once!
In order to facilitate authentic communication, one has to be more inclined towards the other,
to try to understand his/her inner universe, to see the existing situation through his perspective, to
discover the significance he/she gives to a particular event. In other words, to be sympathetic.
Sympathy implies determination and the capacity to control your own social and affective reactions,
reaction to the others feelings, and the verbal capacity to communicate this comprehension. (J.Cl.
Abric, 2002).
Active listening is linked to sympathy. It involves surpassing the self, forgetting about
ourselves and concentrating upon ourselves, which is not a simple task. Quite often, when our
interlocutor speaks, we concentrate upon ourselves, we do not think of what he/she says but of what
we intend to tell him/her, of the strategies we are going to use in order to impress, convince or seduce
him/her. If we happen to listen to him/her, we shall do this in strict connection with our values,
feelings and principles.
Understanding is the only factor that places the interlocutor in a privileged position and that
creates a relational climate that is proper for expressing deeply. Understanding the others words is
not easy, however. In other words, paraphrasing Marshall B. Rosenberg, the founder of non-violent
communication let us give up the jackals years for the giraffes ones. The giraffes ears are big,
attentive, open, they know how to decipher the need hidden behind words, while the jackal cannot
but hear criticism and answer to them accordingly, provoking violence. The jackals language is the
expression of a biased relationship as the author states a relationship based upon waiting, control
and guilt. Let us adopt, then, the giraffes language, a language of amiability, non-judgement/


Kievitz, Christian, et al., Cultural differences in listening style preferences: a comparison of young adults in
Germany, Israel, and the United States, in International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 9(3), (Fall 1997),
233(15), online: Infotrac, Expanded Academic ASAP).


Challenges of the Knowledge Society. Mediation

labelling, of sympathy, through which the interlocutors deep needs are heard12. To achieve this, we
must be more inclined towards the other, try to understand his/her inner universe, discover the
significance he/she gives to facts, words, events. This implies an effort of surpassing the self, selfforgetfulness at least for a while, and concentration upon the other person. This is the only way to
acquire comprehensive communication.13
Despite of the urging human need to communicate comprehensively, in most of the socalled civilized countries there is an implied non-communication and human relations culture. It does
not favour, either within family and school education or in social life, the development of a high
relatedness quotient for most individuals.14
In such a society the individuals chance to have a high relatedness quotient (RQ) is low
because neither school nor society trains the individual for having lively and healthy relationships.
Under these circumstances, as the above mentioned author argues, the relatedness quotient (RQ)
could be, however, developed by becoming aware of ourselves and by developing the dynamics of
our relationships.
Maryse Legrand French clinical psychologist states that one can distinguish between
relatedness quotient (RQ) - intelligence quotient (IQ) and emotional quotient (EQ); in her opinion,
RQ can be evaluated in two ways: in relationship to the self and in relationship to the others. A good
relationship, which has a high RQ, implies the existence of kindness and amiability between its
members and it makes possible for the others particular characteristics to be respected, no matter
who the person may be.
RQ is linked to the more or less developed capacity of a person to create for her/him and the
others relationships that actively contribute to the increase and flourishing thereof. We could state
that an individual has a high RQ when he/she encourages and developes energetic, creative and
stimulative relationships for himself/herself and the other one. We shall state the RQ is low when it
generates infantile, tiring, alienating relationships for the other one and for himself/herself. (Salome,
RQ is the art of establishing mutually rewarding relationships. A good relationship implies the
following needs: the human need to be accepted, to express oneself, to be recognized as a unique
human being and the need to be appreciated. This type of relationship ensures the development,
openness and accomplishment of the human being.
As the French writer, Olivier Clerc, points out, RQ also refers to a persons capacity to deal
with disagreements and conflicting situations without making use of violence. In such a relationship,
our physical, affective and relatedness needs can be heard and recognized however, this does not
mean that they are fulfilled. The need to relate refers to the need to express yourself, to be listened to,
to enjoy the others attention, to be appreciated (to feel yourself appreciated and useful), to be
intimate to someone (to be able to share personal secrets), to have a sense of belongingness (to feel
that you are accepted in a group), to exercise influence (to contribute to the accomplishment/creation
of something new). The RQ is developed within those positive meetings that tend to consolidate
personal security, the feeling that you are respected and that you have a certain personal value. At the
same time, such a relationship will stimulate openness, interest, curiosity (taste) to the others. RQ
will favour aspiration towards being yourself when meeting the other one, trying to offer him/her the
best that you can.15
Listening is an ability that can be improved by learning the way it functions. In a survey
accomplished by over 500 most successful companies, 59% of those questioned answered that they

Marshall B. Rosenberg, Comunicarea Nonviolenta, un limbaj al vietii, ..................... .

Elena Francisc Publishing , www.efpublishing ro.
Jacques Salom, Minuscules aperus sur la difficult d'enseigner, Editions Albin Michel, 2004, ISBN: 2226-15337-3.
J. Salome, Relation daide et formation lentretien, p. 27, Septentrion.

paid for their employees to be taught listening courses. This interest for improving listening abilities
is important because studies reveal that big companys employees spend about 60% of their time
listening, while their managers spend about 57% doing this activity. Research workers have found
that good listening skills are directly linked to their work results. When employees attended listening
courses before going to the IT training class, they were more efficient they those who were not
trained for listening. Fig. 3-1 indicates as a percentage the approximate length of time people
dedicate to the 4 communication skills: listening (53%), reading (17%), speaking (16%) and writing
(14%). Although we spend most of the time listening, this is the least learned skill.16
Listening, like any other skill, must be learned and practiced. When research workers
questioned 450 economic graduates as to what communication skills are necessary at the workplace,
they answered that listening is the most important quality for acquiring success. When they were
asked what communication skills they were taught in high-school, they mentioned listening in the
first place.17
The negotiators qualities
Bill Scott considers that important negotiations require not only a negotiator but the whole
team. He tries to identify the ideal leaders qualities within the negotiators team. The team leaders
professional level is very important. He/she must have the same professional level as the (rival)
teams leader. If this condition is not met, i.e. if his/her negotiation abilities are not as good as his
rivals abilities, then his/her team will be dominated and induced towards adopting a defensive,
counter-aggressive attitude and, moreover, it is likely for such a team not to be able to cope with a
situation of this kind.
Besides the professional level issue, the team leaders work style is also important. As to this,
one can not mention a work style that is preferred to another one. It is important for the team to work
together effectively and this depends upon its members capacity to act according to the style they
In a company in which all information is controlled by a single superior, who assumes all
managerial decisions, the negotiatiors team will have an identical type of leader. During negotiations
this will be able to give answers but he will address his colleagues only when asking for advice
regarding the encountered situations and the possibilities that exist for solving these problems
possibilities which he will negotitate later on.
In a company in which management tasks are assigned, the leader will be a person who will
control the progress of negotiations in a more free way encouraging the team members to have major
contributions during the negotiation process.
The team leaders style has to reflect the organization style, which he represents, and there is
no style that could be defined as perfect.
Bill Scott considers that the leaders educational background is not relevant in negotiation.
This role can be played by persons who have a degree in finance or trading or by persons who come
from the field of production. It would be preferable, though, for this role to be played by those who,
during their trainee years, worked in the commercial field and not the academic one.
First of all, the negotiator must have good communication skills, make proof of the art and
science that this skill involves and master communication techniques. The negotiator must be a
sympathetic and comprehensive listener. Without these inborn qualities that are developed by
studying, it is difficult to be successful when negotiating. A clear communication, which is generally
understood, leads to a dicrease in number of unwise decisions and of the costs that the conflicting
parties must bear. The wrong perception of the message leads to a wrong interpretation and
evaluation of the partner, because one is not fully aware of what they do not know about each other.

Sperry Corporation, Your Personal Listening Profile( Sperry Falls Church, VA:1980), p.4.
Vicent DiSalvo, David C. Larsen, William J. Seiler, Communication Skills Needed by People in Business,
Communication Monographs, 25, (1976): 274.


Challenges of the Knowledge Society. Mediation

In our opinion, surpassing these perception limits is possible if all negotiation components
have a clear identity and content and if the relationship is based upon precise language and clear
In One Minute Portrait, Stefan Prutianu considers that the successful negotiators main
qualities are: honesty, industry, love for the others, inner freedom, persuasion, sense of humor,
initiative, diplomacy, inspiration and will.
Even if many people think that artfulness is the key of all successful negotiations, the above
mentioned writer argues that the most important quality of a good negotiator is honesty and not
artfulness. Only an honest and loyal attitude makes human relationships and relationships between
organizations last.
As to the mediator, honesty is the manifestation of neutrality and impartiality, the symbol of
remaining confidential in order to avoid conflicts of interest and to obtain the parties consent. These
are qualities provided in the codes of ethics belonging to mediation societies.
Hard work, readiness to make effort on a long term, the patience to accomplish a task are
undoubtfully a guarantee for success in negotitation and mediation. Like the negotiator, the mediator
has to be ready to come to the mediation process in order to work hard, to survey and check reality.
Common sense, good intuition and introspection are important qualities when one deals with a
situation of power unbalance and for ensuring an efficient mediation. The mediator must be ready to
be creative and flexible when he deals with mediation.19
Humanism, love for people, trust in values and the huge potential of the human being are the
most important qualities of the person who wants to be a mediator. Including humanism among the
peremptory moral values is no longer negotiable at the beginning of the IIIrd millenium. Animated
with humanist ideals, he/she [the negotiator] respects himself/herself and the negotiation partners.
He/she can be generous, but, anyway, he/she is fair. He/she can militate for the free development of
the human personality, but, however, not anyhow.20
The above mentioned author points out the importance of inner freedom in the negotiation
process. The ideal negotiator is an independent and autonomous person who negotiates freely and in
an unbiased way. These are the basic conditions upon which ones capacity to be natural and free
depends. Inner freedom gives man naturalness, ease, dignity and moral steadiness.
Persuasion is the negotiators capacity to convince and argue and it is transmitted through the
rhetoric of the discourse and the orators passion. The intelligent, logical but cold discourse does not
convince. Passion warms up spirit and it makes people enthusiastic. We refer to passion here and not
ardour (as a form of slavery caused by ardour).
Diligence, perseverence, not stuborness, represent another dimension of persuasion.
Repetitive messages are recorded by passive memory and become more convincing.
Optimism is the golden hand of the negotiator. It is to a great extent a matter of self trust,
attitude and will. It comes from the inner universe, the trust in ones own force and generosity. Good
is above evil even if we do not live in the best of all the possible worlds. Optimism is a miraculous
plant that can be grown. An optimistic negotiator is generous and cautious. A part of him strongly
believes that partners can benefit of the negotiated solution, while the other part remains vigilent.21
Smile and humour are important qualities in the negotiation process. A smile can sometimes
be more convincing than the whole argumentation. The serene and smiling face represents 51% of
personal charm. Happy, joyous persons are more pleasant and are offered a concession by their
partners more easily. Humour is also tonic, it weakens tensions, it warms up atmosphere and it
facilitates the offering of concessions.

L. P. Zapartan, Negocierea in viata social-politica, Ed. Eikon, Cluj Napoca, 2007, pag. 179.
Robert A. Baruch Bush, Joseph Folger, Promisiunea de mediere, Elve ia, Jossey Bass ,1994.
Stefan Prutianu, Manual de comunicare si negociere in afaceri, Ed.Polirom, 2000.

Initiative is an ally for the one who proposes, begins and initiates an action. Initiative is an
ally of the strong, active ones who make decisions alone and never wait for the others to make a
decision. A passive, always expecting person cannot have initiative. The strong negotiator depends
upon initiative.
Diplomacy allows for a correct and convenient attitude to be adopted in almost any situation.
It requires patience, calm and lucidity. The diplomatic negotiator knows how to address his/her
interlocutor - the negotiation partner: he/she is balanced and respectful to the others.
Will is also an important quality for obtaining success in negotiations, it is a characteristic of
the strong ones and the winners. For them, the exercise of will is so simple that it requires almost no
effort. Will is the psychological function that, consciously, directs the individual towards
accomplishing his/her objectives. It focuses energies towards attaining goals. Will often differentiates
success from failure. Successful persons are those who adopt strong inner decision and do not give
up when obstacles are encountered.
Besides the above mentioned qualities of the good negotiator, Stefan Prutianu also adds
competitive spirit, dignity, honour, health, experience and age (30 and 50 years).

Communication, negotiation and mediation are creative and managing social life processes,
which allow and facilitate human communication, rebuilding broken communication bridgges,
preventing or peacefully settling social conflicts. They are processes meant to reinforce the
sensibility of human action, cooperation and solidarity, as well as the sustainable development of
Negotiation and mediation are the most convenient and the cheapest ways to settle disputes.
That is why, lately they have been more and more used for solving micro and macro social conflicts.
The frequency of using negotiation and mediation in social relationships reveals the level of
democracy and political culture in a society.
Abric, Jean-Claude, The Psychology of Communication, Polirom Publishing House, Ia i, 2002
Andrei Marga in dialogue with Gianni Vattimo, in Verso bimonthly cultural magazine, 15 March - 15 April,
Chiru, Irena, Interpersonal Communication, Tritonic Publishing House, Bucharest, 2003
Dinu, Mihai, The Fundamentals of Interpersonal Communication, All Publishing House, Bucharest, 2004
Giblin, Leslie, The Art of Human Relations Development, Curtea veche Publishing House, 2006
J.J. van Cuilenburg, O. Scholten and G.W. Noomen, Stiinta comunicarii, Bucuresti, Humanitas, 1998
Kievitz, Christian, et al., Cultural differences in listening style preferences: a comparison of young adults in
Germany, Israel, and the United States, in International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 9(3), (Fall
1997), 233(15), online: Infotrac, Expanded Academic ASAP);
Mucchielli, Alex, The Art of Communication, Polirom Publishing House, Ia i, 2005
Muchielli, Rogers, Lentretien de face a face dans la relation daide, ESF Editeur, Paris, 2004
Petru Dunca, Gheorghe Danci, Gheorghe Ilie, Negocierea si medierea conflictelor, Editura Universit ii de
Nord din Baia Mare2010, Bucure ti
Salome, Jacques, Relation daide et formation lentretien, Septentrion
Salom, Jacques, Minuscules aperus sur la difficult d'enseigner, Editions Albin Michel, 2004
Solomon Marcus, Paradigme universale, Ed. Paralela 45, Pite ti, 2005.
Solarte, M. C., Course on negociation; Theory, Tehniqes and Conflict Management, Spring 2002;
http//hot.ee/ introduccion and_conflict management htm;
Stefan Prutianu, Manual de comunicare si negociere in afaceri, Ed. Polirom, 2000
Zapartan, L. P. , Negocierea in viata social-politica, Ed. Eikon, Cluj Napoca, 2007